Iraqi Govt Deal in Doubt Over Iraqiya Role

Sunni Bloc Walks Out on Parliament Session

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “done deal” government is looking increasingly in doubt today after the first parliamentary session in months ended with a walkout by the nation’s largest political bloc Iraqiya and threats by them to withdraw entirely from the coalition in the coming weeks.

Ayad Allawi

The session saw Iraqiya member Osama Nejeifi elected as the parliamentary speaker but a vote to secure President Jalal Talabani another term saw a large portion of the Iraqiya bloc walking out to protest the refusal of the parliament to first disband the De-Ba’athification program which saw a number of their bloc’s members banned from contesting the election.

But the real story wasn’t in parliament, but in the behind-the-scenes deals to form the government, which saw Iraqiya given the speaker position as well as the appointment of leader Ayad Allawi as the Chairman of the Political Council of Strategic Policies, a compromise after US efforts to secure him the presidency failed.

Many Iraqiya members however, have now expressed concern that no one seems to know what the Political Council of Strategic Policies is actually supposed to be, as the entire council was created yesterday just to give Allawi the chairmanship. Furthermore, Iraqiya members note, the chairman doesn’t have any defined powers.

So as Maliki’s government looks to be finalized in about a month, the Iraqiya bloc is threatening to withdraw from the coalition in the coming weeks, likely before it is even finalized, if the government doesn’t find something for the Political Council of Strategic Policies’ new chairman to do.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.